London house prices have plunged at the fastest rate for almost a decade amid uncertainty over Brexit, according to new figures. But not all homeowners are equally effected.
The capital’s housing market was down by 1.6% in the year until January 2019, the biggest annual drop since September 2009, based on data from the UK House Price Index.
We have explored how house prices have changed in every London borough over a 12-month period as the UK prepares to exit the EU.
Find out whether prices are rising or falling in your borough, and where homeowners have been hardest hit.
London house prices hit by Brexit
Average house prices across the UK rose by 1.7% in the year up until January 2019, yet prices in the capital dropped.
Which? examined how house prices changed in London between January 2018 and January this year using data from the Land Registry’s UK House Price Index. The averages are based on all property types.
Westminster experienced the biggest fall, with the average price dropping by 14.03% – from £1,116,077 in January 2018 to £959,466 in January 2019. The central London borough of Camden was close behind, with prices plunging by 8.25%.
However, the news wasn’t all bad. The City of London leapt by 8.2% to a high of £868,258 – although there are limited home sales in this area. The outer suburbs of Ealing and Newham also saw substantial increases in their average price, of 4.95% and 4%, respectively.
You can search for your borough in the table below.
Are all London boroughs at risk of price falls?
While the average price across the capital has fallen, some areas are more affected than others – and the worst hit areas tend to be investor hotspots.
The prime housing market, in the heart of London’s transport zones one and two, saw the heaviest falls in price. The majority of boroughs in this area suffered a significant decrease, with Hackney, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Westminster all seeing values drop.
These boroughs are particularly popular for international investment. It may be that the market is slowing as foreign investors delay making a move during the Brexit negotiations.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the price point in these areas is exceptionally high – between £800,000 and £1m – so rises and falls in value can seem more extreme.
By contrast, outer London boroughs between transport zones four and eight – such as Barking, Ealing, Havering, Hillingdon, Newham and Sutton – all experienced a rise in house prices in the 12-month period.
These areas tend to be more popular with families and first-time buyers, who may be unlikely to alter their plans based on Brexit. So, if you’re a homeowner in London, you shouldn’t panic just yet.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, the body for letting agents, said: ‘House prices are falling because of general uncertainty about Brexit and the future thereafter.
‘There’s evidence that this phenomenon is not restricted entirely to London. However, London has outperformed in terms of house price inflation and the rest of the country quite significantly, and there might now be some element of correction.
‘The prime market is feeling the impact more than non-prime, and this is spreading out to both London and the South East.’
Buying a house or flat in London
If you’re planning to buy a house or flat in London, the slowing market could be an opportunity to snap up a bargain. But prices in the capital, even in the cheapest areas, still tend to be well-above the UK average.
To balance out the high cost of London property, there are a number of schemes designed to give buyers a leg up.
London Help to Buy scheme
The Help to Buy scheme offers people buying a new-build home an equity loan from the government which is interest free for five years. This reduces the amount you need to borrow from a mortgage lender.
In London, you can borrow up to 40% of the property’s value on homes worth up to £600,000. You’ll need a deposit of at least 5% – meaning you could take out a mortgage for just 55% of the home’s value.
There are limits, though, and you’ll need a plan for repaying the equity loan. You can find out more in our guide to the London Help to Buy scheme.
If you can’t afford to buy a home outright, shared ownership might be an option for you.
The scheme allows you to buy share of between 25% and 75% in a property, and pay rent on the remaining share.
- Read more: shared ownership
Rent to buy
The Rent to Buy scheme helps people struggling to save up a deposit by allowing you to rent a home at 20% below the normal market rate for up to five years.
During this time, you’ll get the option to buy the whole property or part of the property through the shared ownership scheme.
See our guide to Buying a house or flat in London